Earlier in the hearing, prosecutors claimed Pistorius got up from bed, put on his prosthetic legs and walked seven metres before shooting Reeva Steenkamp through a closed bathroom door. Gerrie Nell said it showed it was a premeditated murder, adding there was “a motive to kill”.
But in a statement Pistorius said he woke up to a sound in the bathroom and felt a sense of terror. He didn’t realise Ms Steenkamp wasn’t in bed and shot at the door, feeling vulnerable without his prosthetics.
Magistrate Desmond Nair ruled that, for the purpose of the bail hearing, the case was a schedule six offence or premeditated murder, which means it will be difficult for the 26-year-old to get bail.
Earlier, Mr Nel said Ms Steenkamp fled to the small, cramped bathroom and locked herself in because she was scared after they’d had a row on Valentine’s Day.
The 29-year-old model died from “three shots” last Thursday at Pistorius’ home in South Africa. The family attended her funeral in Port Elizabeth this morning.
Mr Nel said the defence had a number of questions to answer, including:
:: Why did Pistorius carry Ms Steenkamp’s body down a staircase after she was shot?
:: Why didn’t Pistorius look for his girlfriend if he suspected there was a burglar in the house?
:: Why did Ms Steenkamp lock herself in the toilet – was she afraid of being shot or killed?
:: Why did he put on his prosthetic limbs and walk seven metres to the bathroom?
Mr Nel said: “If I arm myself, walk a distance and murder a person, that is premeditated. The door is closed. There is no doubt. I walk seven metres and I kill. The motive is ‘I want to kill’. That’s it.”
He added: “It wouldn’t be correct for me to venture into the motive now. We can say that there was a motive to kill.”
Meanwhile the athlete’s defence lawyer Barry Roux said there was no evidence of premeditation, insisting he had mistaken Ms Steenkamp for a burglar.
Arguing the law graduate’s death was accidental, he said: “We submit it is not even murder. There is no concession this is a murder.”
“All we really know is she locked herself behind the toilet door and she was shot,” he added.
“Was it to kill her, or was it to get her out?” Mr Roux asked the court, referring to the broken-down door.
Pistorius, who won two gold medals at the London 2012 Paralympic Games, broke down in tears during the hearing which will determine whether he should get bail.
Sky’s special correspondent Alex Crawford, who is inside the court in Pretoria, said the double amputee’s “face was creased in pain” and he was “weeping” as he was formally charged with murder.
The prosecutor said Pistorius, nicknamed the Bladerunner, “killed an innocent woman”.
Crawford said his defence team will detail why he should be given bail, arguing that he is not a danger to society or himself and is not going to abscond.
At the start of proceedings, Pistorius, in a grey suit and tie, nodded after the chief magistrate asked if he was well. And he nodded his appreciation when his brother, Carl, pressed his shoulder in support.
Journalists jammed into the courtroom, which was full with almost 100 people, including Pistorius’ father, Henke, and sister Aimee.
By Sky News